Ahead of Syria conference, Malteser International urges for greater security for health workers.
Cologne/Idlib. The war in Syria has repeatedly seen violence against medical personnel and healthcare facilities, amounting to blatant violations of international humanitarian law by parties involved in the war. Earlier this week, a hospital in western Aleppo was hit by artillery shells, killing seven people and injuring 16 others, including medical staff.
"Quite deliberately, medical infrastructure has been targeted in this war to prevent people from accessing care, forcing them to leave certain regions," said Janine Lietmeyer, Head of Regional Group Asia at Malteser International. "Facilities protected by the Geneva Conventions, such as hospitals, have seen targeted bomb attacks. Doctors, nurses, and midwives have been abducted, detained and tortured. We must bring this violations to the public's attention. Health workers serve sick and injured people and need better protection."
Since the beginning of the civil war and with funding from Germany's Foreign Office, Malteser International has been working with partners inside Syria to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance in 14 health facilities as well as improved water and sanitation in camps for displaced people. According to reports from Syrian human rights organizations, more than 3,000 healthcare workers have have been imprisoned or gone missing since the war began in 2011.
"Aid workers are exhausted and frustrated that the global community is failing to get the warring parties involved to comply with existing protections for humanitarian facilities," said Lietmeyer.
Malteser International is the humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta. With over 100 projects in 29 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, Malteser International supports those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster, helping them lead a healthy life with dignity – without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles build the foundation of our work. For more information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.int
Janine Lietmeyer, Head of Regional Group Middle East, is available for interviews.
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Malteser International is calling for donations to support relief efforts in Syria: